LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Daughters of an Arkansas man beaten with a can of hominy and stabbed to death in 1991 likened their father’s killer to a dog and a terrorist Wednesday and asked the state parole board to recommend that he be executed as scheduled next month.
The family of Sidney Burnett met with the state Parole Board on Wednesday, hours after lawyers for Jack Green asked the board to spare his life. The panel said it will forward a recommendation, on way or the other, to Gov. Asa Hutchinson within three days.
Clutching her father’s death certificate, Irene Burton of Clarksville implored the board to imagine the 30 minutes of torture Burnett endured before he died.
“If I had a dog and it bit someone, I would put it down,” Burton said. “Please, please. … Put this dog to sleep.”
Her sister, Linda Miller of Niles, Michigan, said Greene was similar to a terrorist without a value system.
“What kind of human being can be this mean? I don’t know because I wasn’t raised that way,” she said, at times pausing to reach for a tissue and at other times rubbing the tears from her eyes.
Greene is scheduled to die Nov. 9 at the Cummins Unit prison at Varner, 60 miles (96 kilometers) southeast of Little Rock. Arkansas recently acquired the last of three drugs it needs for lethal injections and has enough material for two executions.
The inmate’s lawyers have said he is mentally ill, falsely claiming that he is being tortured. They say that, while delusional, he stuffs tissues into his nose and ears. Greene appeared before the board Wednesday with strings of tissue in both ears and his left nostril.
“Executing someone with such a profound degree of mental illness would frankly be inhumane and it’s not necessary to ensure justice in this particular case,” lawyer John Williams said. “I think you can see from looking at Jack, keeping him in prison for the rest of his life would be extremely harsh punishment by itself.”
The inmate told the panel that he is not mentally ill. He has asked to be moved to his native North Carolina, where authorities say he killed a brother days before killing Burnett.
“I’m not going to let these people make me out to be something that I’m not. I accept responsibility for my actions,” he told the panel Wednesday morning. “Killing me … put an end to the array of torture on me for 13 years.”
His sister, in a video presented to the board Wednesday, asked that Greene’s life be spared.
“I know you’ve got to pay for what you do. Just leave him in prison and not put him to death,” Mary Ellen Blankenship said.
David Gibbons, the prosecutor in Johnson County in western Arkansas, where the killing took place, said Greene tortured Burnett — beating the man so severely with a can of hominy that the container was bent. Autopsy results showed remained alive during the attack, the prosecutor said.
“The death penalty should be preserved for the worst of the worst,” Gibbons said. “This case presents the worst of the worst.”
In the spring, the board recommended clemency for an inmate scheduled to die with seven others in April, before Arkansas’ supply of midazolam expired. In August, Hutchinson said he concurred and would reduce Jason McGehee’s death sentence to life without parole.
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